Until recently, victims had no rights whatsoever and participated only as witnesses during trial. The adversary system of justice says that the state is the offended party in a criminal case and prosecutes the offender in the name of society. Victims had no rights, neither did they have a say in the punishment to be imposed, even in plea-bargained cases. That has changed in many states where victims are now given rights by law. The most common rights the victims now have are:
(1) the right to be notified about developments in the case; (2) the right to allocution, and (3) the right to appeal court rulings that violate their right Do you agree that victims should be allowed to participate in the criminal justice process or should the government be the “objective” arbiter of justice?
What are some of the positive effects of allowing victims into the process? What are some of the negative effects of allowing victims into the process?
Overall, which do you think is best, a system that allows victim participation or a system that does not?